Did you know that bee pollen contains almost all of the nutrients required by the human body to thrive? That’s why the German Federal Board of Health has officially recognized it as a medicine.
Bee pollen is wonderful for natural allergy relief and is responsible for the many health benefits of raw honey. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, lipids and fatty acids, enzymes, carotenoids and bioflavonoids — making it an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent that strengthens the capillaries, reduces inflammation, stimulates the immune system and lowers cholesterol levels naturally.
Bees collect pollen from plant anthers, mix it with a small dose of the secretion from salivary glands or nectar, and place it in specific baskets (called corbiculae) that are situated on the tibia of their hind legs — called pollen loads.
After the pollen is collected, it’s brought to the hive where it’s packed in honeycomb cells. Then the surface of the collected pollen is covered with a thin layer of honey and wax, creating “bee bread.” The bee bread undergoes anaerobic fermentation and is preserved by the arising lactic acid. The bee bread serves as the basic protein source for the bee colony.
Bee pollen may work similarly to anti-inflammatory drugs, according to researchers. In one study on rats, scientists found that bee pollen extract reduced inflammation in rats with swollen paws. Research on mice showed bee pollen had anti-inflammatory effects when used to treat their liver disease.
Researchers have found that bee pollen has very high antioxidant properties similar to those of fermented foods. Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemicals that exist in plant-based foods, usually those that are red or dark in color, as well as fermented foods.
Some common antioxidants include:
Antioxidants keep people healthy by counteracting oxidants such as air pollution and cigarette smoke that can damage the body.
The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the body. Researchers found that in rats, bee pollen helps keep the liver healthy and can even help the healing process after liver damage.
Researchers noted that the rats had no side effects in taking bee pollen, compared to silibinin, a medication that also contains antioxidants but can also cause harm.
A strong immune system is necessary for fighting off disease and keeping you healthy. One study found that bee pollen naturally inhibits allergic reactions in mice. Another study suggests that bee pollen has antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. These properties could help kill off bacteria and viruses, such as staphylococcus aureus, which causes food poisoning.
Bee pollen could potentially work as a supplement that helps your diet and health. One study looked at rabbits that received a bee pollen supplement in addition to their regular diet. They had a longer lifespan and also greater reproductive success. They gave birth to healthier, stronger babies compared to rabbits who didn’t take the supplement.
Another study found that malnourished, old rats experienced improved muscle mass and metabolism after eating a diet that contained bee pollen.
Many women who take antihormonal medications often experience symptoms of menopause. One study found that some women with breast cancer who took a bee pollen supplement experienced fewer, less intense menopause symptoms than those who didn’t.
Bee pollen can increase blood flow to the body’s nervous system, helping reduce stress. It’s also effective for tiredness, according to a review of bee pollen.
Research shows that bee pollen can be used on the skin to speed healing, as it boosts blood circulation, kills bacteria, and moistens the skin.
Always buy your supplements from a reputable source. It’s possible to buy tainted bee pollen that contains potentially dangerous ingredients reported to cause serious side effects, including increased heart rate, cardiac arrest, and even death.
Talk to a doctor before taking any supplements or herbs. Additionally, if you’re allergic to bee stings or wasps, you should avoid bee pollen. Discontinue the supplement immediately if you experience:
Experts also recommend that pregnant women avoid taking bee pollen, as it may interfere with pregnancy.
For most people, bee pollen appears to be a safe dietary supplement. There are many claims about its health benefits, but most of the science has been done on animals and cells, not people.
Be sure to buy bee pollen from a trusted source. Talk to your doctor about any health concerns you may have before taking bee pollen. While it’s not guaranteed that bee pollen will help you, it probably won’t hurt you either.